During college, one of my best friends developed a loaf-a-week cinnamon toast habit. It got to the point where sheâ€™d leave a softened stick of butter at the ready in the cabinet with the cups and bowls, and a dish of pre-mixed cinnamon sugar out on the kitchen counter the way some people seem to leave out plates of cocaine. When I first got wind of Land O’Lakes’ new Cinnamon Sugar Butter Spread, I immediately thought of her, and wondered if the current residents of our old apartment ever question the inexplicable gritty texture of every surface in their kitchen.
I then also wondered if that poor kitchen still reeks of rotting potato, but thatâ€™s a whole other story which Iâ€™d rather not relive except to say: Always know the age and quantity of your stockpile of spuds, kids. The consequences of careless potato storage are dire and long lasting. Your friends may never visit again.
But enough with that PSA. Cue the little shooting star icon. Back to the sweet, sweet wonders of butter with bonus goodies.
My first experience with the concept came with homemade honey butter. I loved that shit as a kid. One day, in one of those bowls oâ€™ condiments provided with the complimentary bread at some restaurant, I found a pre-combined version. Gleefully tearing into the little packet I discovered it to be full of disappointment. Bland, overly blended, and too heavy on the butter, it just wasnâ€™t the melty sweet punch Iâ€™d fallen in love with. When the same kid, who tried to eat the fake toast in her Fisher Price kitchen years after it could be written off as an age-appropriate mistake, denounces your attempt at something as simple as honey butter, you know you have failed.
I like to envision foods like honey and butter existing perpetually as couples in hopelessly failing culinary marriages. Theyâ€™d really like to stay together for their consumers, but to do that they need the help of a marriage counselor of sorts in form of some type of weird additive. Unfortunately, more often than not, either that additive is an awful counselor or they find they hate each other so much it ceases to matter, resulting in an inferior product. You can almost taste the contempt.
However, when you, the consumer, bring those same items together for just the brief time it takes to devour them, they sometimes magically rediscover what brought them together in the first place. Itâ€™s a childâ€™s depressing little dream come true. For one brief moment theyâ€™re happy, nostalgic, and delicious. Everyone is laughing. If we were to give it five more minutes, maybe tack a prologue onto those credits, however, honey would inevitably bring up butterâ€™s affair with apples, sending them back to square one. I worried that would be the case with the Cinnamon Sugar Butter Spread â€“ more fit for Lifetime than for the Disney Channel.
Luckily, as you probably noticed in the initial news blurb on this site, Land O’Lakes managed to keep the ingredient list short (and sweet), offering us a relatively simple amalgam of cream, sugar, canola oil, water, cinnamon, salt, and citric acid. What the tiny print on the back of the package reveals, however, is that this stuff is 19% canola oil â€“ enough to cancel out any of the meager calcium benefits of regular butter consumption while creating a product that melts more smoothly and easily than the most genetically modified margarine commercially available today. It would seem that Land O’Lakes has attempted to achieve ingredient harmony by giving up completely and suspending everything in oil.
The spread itself has a color that’s almost similar to peanut butter. It also has a comparable texture when pulled right out of the refrigerator. Apply it to a room temperature item, though, and the canola oil kicks in. The butter instantly melts down to a spreadable level without being absorbed into the bread (or blueberry bagel or oatmeal cookie if youâ€™re me and trying to be thorough with your sampling). Seriously, itâ€™s like grabbing mercury. I hadnâ€™t had butter that wasnâ€™t in stick form in probably three or four years, so this completely astounded me. What wonders will they think of next? Wireless internet? Pre-sliced frozen pizza?? Individual Kool-Aid packets??? Baffling technology, the lot of it.
If you just eat a dab of the stuff, itâ€™s almost like consuming pure cinnamon bark which has inexplicably melted. It wasnâ€™t nearly as sweet as I expected. In fact, pretty much everything else plays second fiddle. The forgotten background butter flavor only really came through on the bagel. On the toast? So much non-stop cinnamon action! So little anything else. And the oatmeal raisin cookie? In hindsight, I shouldâ€™ve cinna-buttered a snickerdoodle instead, for maximum redundancy. I will say this for the cookie, though: it was only the contender to tone down the borderline overwhelming cinnamon assault, and it did so with dazzling oatmeally bravado.
Luckily, Iâ€™m a cinnamon fan. Hell, Iâ€™m drinking Cinnabon coffee creamer right now. In my coffee. I havenâ€™t broken down and started downing the stuff on its own. Yet. If youâ€™re not a cinnamon fan, well, honestly, why would you buy this in the first place? Just know this stuff is for the hardcore cinnaficionados. You want cinnamon sugar butter spread? You canâ€™t handle this spread!
Taken for what it is, the Land O’Lakes Cinnamon Sugar Butter Spread is quite tasty, but itâ€™s understandably a bit removed from the homemade version. I guess it all comes down to this: do you prefer your kitchen counters oily or gritty?
(Nutrition Facts â€“ 1 Tbsp â€“ 70 calories, 60 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 30 milligrams of sodium, 4 grams of carbohydrates, 0 gram of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein, and 2% Vitamin A.)
Item: Land O’Lakes Cinnamon Sugar Butter Spread
Size: 6.5 oz
Purchased at: Albertsonâ€™s
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Bursting with cinnamon. “The more you know” PSAs. Not held together by additive whack jobs. Wireless internet. Pre-sliced frozen pizza. Honey on butter. Gave me an excuse to butter a cookie. Oatmeally bravado. Great on bagels.
Cons: Easy to forget itâ€™s technically a butter product. Honey butter packets of indeterminate age. Rotting potatoes. Itâ€™s mostly just canola oil. Might be too extreme for medium-core cinnamon enthusiasts. Reaching for a glass in the cabinet and grabbing butter. Sugar has almost completely bowed out of this marriage of convenience.